#26 DANIIL KVYAT
Not many drivers get a second chance. Very few get a third. Daniil Kvyat made a second return to Toro Rosso in 2019 after previously being ditched by the team in 2017. He left the sport at the end of the 2020 season.
|Full Name||Daniil Vyacheslavovich Kvyat|
|Date of Birth||26th April 1994|
|First Race||2014 Australian Grand Prix|
Born in Ufa, Russia, in 1994, Daniil Kvyat moved to Moscow with his family aged eight. This is where he began his karting career. He made his first professional appearance in Sochi, where he won his first race. Kvyat raced in national events, including the Russian Karting Championship, before moving to Italy in 2007 as his career progressed further.
Success in karting followed over the next three years, with Kvyat catching the eye of Red Bull’s Helmut Marko. In his first open-wheel test, organised by Red Bull, both he and Carlos Sainz signed with the Red Bull junior team on the same day at the Varano circuit. He stepped up to Formula BMW in 2010, struggling initially and being out-performed by Sainz. By the mid-season, however, his results were improving and he was soon fighting for podium places – taking his first at the Monza circuit. A win soon followed in the Asian Championships in Singapore.
After a brief appearance in the New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series at the start of 2011 – in which he finished fifth in the championship – Kvyat raced in Formula Renault 2.0, once again partnering Sainz and finishing as runner-up to the Spaniard in the Northern European Cup, and behind him and Robin Frijns in the Eurocup championship. Kvyat continued in Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012, competing in both Formula Renault 2.0 Alps and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. Kvyat won six races in the Eurocup championship, but was beaten to the title by Stoffel Vandoorne. He won the Alps series, finishing three points ahead of rival Norman Nato.
Kvyat had a busy year in 2013, where he competed in the GP3 Series and in 21 races of the European Formula Three Championship. He scored a podium in the third race of his first F3 event at Hockenheim, before taking a victory later on in the year at Zandvoort. In GP3, Kvyat won the Feature Races at Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Yas Marina, claiming the title at the latter event. Shortly before he claimed the title, he was announced as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement at the Toro Rosso F1 team for 2014.
After Vitaly Petrov, Kvyat became the second Russian driver to compete in Formula 1, and scored on debut, finishing ninth in the Australian Grand Prix; at the time becoming the youngest driver to score a point in the sport. Ninth would be his best result of the season, repeating it at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, and scoring further points with tenth place finishes in Malaysia and China. What Red Bull saw was enough to prompt his promotion to the senior team as Sebastian Vettel announced his intention to move to Ferrari for 2015.
The highlight of Kvyat’s first season at Red Bull was a second place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix. It remains the best result for a Russian driver so far in Formula 1. Overall, Kvyat had a respectable season, aside from a heavy crash in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, with three fourth place finishes in addition to his podium. He finished ahead of team-mate Ricciardo in the Drivers’ Championship. He continued with the team for 2016 and after failing to start the Australian Grand Prix for the second year in a row due to engine issues, Kvyat returned to the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix, finishing third. This is the race in which Vettel infamously called the Russian a ‘torpedo’ due to his bold moves on the first lap. Vettel was left fuming with him once again at the next round in Kvyat’s native Russia, when Kvyat hit the rear of Vettel’s Ferrari twice in the opening lap, ultimately causing a retirement for Vettel and ending both his own and his team-mate’s chances of points.
Kvyat was moved back to Toro Rosso for the next race, with Max Verstappen taking his Red Bull seat (and winning on debut with the team). The Russian went on to finish tenth in his first race back at the junior team, but then only scored twice more throughout the year. His confidence dashed, Kvyat remained at the team for the 2017 season, but was still regularly out-performed by team-mate Sainz. After crashing out at the Singapore Grand Prix, Kvyat was replaced by Pierre Gasly for the Malaysia and Japanese races. He made a return at the US Grand Prix, but only because Gasly was unavailable. Kvyat picked up a point by finishing tenth in the race, though it wasn’t enough to convince the team to keep him.
Kvyat made a surprise move to Ferrari for 2018, where he became the team’s development driver, mostly carrying out simulator work at the team’s Maranello base. With Gasly moving to Red Bull for 2019, and with few options within the Red Bull driver programme, Toro Rosso turned to Daniil Kvyat to partner fellow-formerly-ditched Red Bull driver Alexander Albon at the team in 2019.
KVYAT IN 2019
Daniil Kvyat scored his best championship result for Toro Rosso, finishing in thirteenth place and amassing 37 points. While Kvyat’s return to the sport after a year away had its high points, it also showed why he was let go in the first place. The Russian was regularly out-performed by his team-mate in qualifying and in races. Of Toro Rosso’s two cars, Kvyat scored 44% of their total points this season. The other car, which was shared by two drivers – one a rookie and the other a driver who had to adapt to a new car halfway through the season – scored more points.
The obvious highlight of Kvyat’s season came at the Russian Grand Prix, when he recorded Toro Rosso’s first podium finish in more than a decade. That result alone accounted for 40% of his points this year. He was unlucky in some regards in 2019: Azerbaijan, Italy and his home race in Russia are all examples of where he could have picked up points had things gone his way.
There were still signs throughout the year that Kvyat is not a fully-rounded driver, whether that was his coming together with Antonio Giovinazzi in Bahrain, his clash with the McLarens on the opening lap in China, or his last lap crash with Nico Hulkenberg in Mexico (which he picked up a post-race penalty for).
KVYAT IN 2020
Daniil Kvyat’s year got off to a slow start, with him scoring only two points in the first seven races, compared to his team-mate’s eighteen. Pierre Gasly looked much more comfortable in the car all year – and the on-track results showed that.
Kvyat scored points on seven occasions this year, with a best result of fourth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. In that race, Kvyat took advantage of fresh tyres to overtake cars in quick succession following the Safety Car restart. He qualified in the top ten on only four occasions in 2020, all four of those being in the final five races of the season. He was out-qualified by his team-mate for all but four races; though he set faster sector times than Gasly in 25 of the season’s 51 qualifying sectors. Read more: Daniil Kvyat’s 2020 F1 Season In Statistics.
AlphaTauri opted to not renew Kvyat’s contract for 2021, with Yuki Tsunoda taking his seat. The Russian left the sport having made 110 starts, picking up 202 points and finishing on the podium three times.
DANIIL KVAYT’S F1 RECORD
Year Team Final Position Points Scored Wins Poles Podiums
2014 Toro Rosso 15th 8 0 0 0
2015 Red Bull 7th 95 0 0 1
2016 Red Bull / Toro Rosso 14th 25 0 0 1
2017 Toro Rosso 19th 5 0 0 0
2019 Toro Rosso 13th 37 0 0 1
2020 AlphaTauri 14th 32 0 0 0